How Universities Create White Nationalists
If you’re familiar with the story of Tyler Magill, you know that he was the University of Virginia alum and employee who confronted white nationalist Jason Kessler at the white nationalist riot August 11, 2017. Magill suffered a stroke as a result of the assault.
In a letter to the university president Teresa Sullivan, Magill explains how the University of Virginia enabled the white nationalist rioters.
Similarly, universities around the country are creating white nationalists in three ways. First, schools are terrified of First Amendment free speech rights violations. Colleges are failing to maintain campus safety. Finally, university leadership may be demonstrating a lack of leadership and integrity.
First Amendment free speech rights
A free speech violation is a serious concern for universities.
When the University of Auburn denied white nationalists the opportunity to protest on the campus at a Richard Spencer-sponsored event, the protestors took the school to court and won their lawsuit. Since then, other universities became concerned about the legality of blocking alt-right speakers and events at their schools.
Universities must uphold First Amendment rights, regardless of the message. Organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union and the Southern Poverty Law Center have insisted that free speech be protected.
White nationalists have taken advantage of free speech rights to promote themselves at universities around the country.
The threat of imminent danger requires an immediate response from campus leadership.
No university can allow for pandemonium to break out. The University of Berkeley paid $600,000 for additional security at a speech given by Ben Shapiro. It would have been cheaper to cancel the speech, but the school could not cancel because the event may turn violent.
As a result, campus leadership has been forced into taking one of two positions out of fear for campus safety: either spend large sums of money to provide ample security or ignore the situation in the hopes that nothing violent will happen.
At the University of Virginia, the president took the second position, which caused injury and death. Ignoring a potentially volatile situation can never be a solution.
Leadership and integrity
According to the Association of Governing Boards, university leadership must preserve academic freedom. Doing so will require consistent integrity and leadership.
Leaders in higher education must understand First Amendment rights and implications as they apply to free speech.
School presidents must make decisions that are aligned with the values of the university as well as with constitutional rights to neutralize aggressions from white nationalists. The must be allowed and encouraged to speak out against hate speech. The University of Virginia president failed to do this.
In upholding free speech and maintaining campus safety, universities have been forced to compromise their beliefs and thus white nationalists are created.